What You Don’t Know About Importing Drugs From Canada

Facts About Importing Drugs From Canada

1. Drugs from Canada don’t always come from Canada.  According to President of CanaRX, a Canadian Web site that sells online, 70 percent of drugs sold to Americans from Canada are made elsewhere, so the drug you think you’re importing from Canada probably comes from a third world country with less stringent protections than either the US or Canada.1

2. There isn’t enough supply in Canada to satisfy U.S. demand:  If half of just elderly Americans shifted their purchases to Canadian sources, it would exhaust the supply of drugs in Canada in a few months.2

3. The Canadian regulators don’t think this is a good idea.  In 2008, Manitoba regulators announced they will stop licensing Internet pharmacies, because they could not oversee operations when customers all live in another country.3

4. Canada isn’t going to carefully scrutinize drugs bound for the United States.  If pharmaceuticals are not earmarked for Canadian citizens, they are not subject to the Canadian government’s safety regulations. By marking the drugs “for export only,” drug exporters can bypass Canada’s safety regulations and mail fake or low-quality drugs made in China, India, and other countries notorious for ineffective and sometimes deadly products to Americans using a Canadian mailing address.4

5. Canadian pharmacies are not subject to the FDA’s jurisdiction, which means American customers aren’t protected by the FDA’s safety regulations.  In 2003, CanaRX was warned by the FDA to stop providing Americans with medications because they were obtaining medications from unapproved suppliers and shipping refrigerated medications using plain mail services.  CanaRX remains in business today.5


The bottom-line is that drug importation programs, including government sponsored programs, encourage Americans to gamble with their health, especially vulnerable patient populations such as minorities, seniors, and fixed income patients.

Learn more about dangers of drug importation, its link to counterfeit drugs and the issues threatening the safety of our prescription drugs, visit www.safemedicines.org.

1 The Windsor Star, “Drug supply called secure,” March 4, 2008
2 University of Texas study, Center for Pharmaeconomic Studies based on US Government data, May 2004, conducted by Marv Shepherd
3 National Post, “Manitoba to stop licensing net pharmacies,” March 13, 2008

4 The Partnership for Safe Safemedicines, “Importing Danger,’ 2008
5 FDA News, “
FDA Warns CanaRx Services About Its Illegal Internet Website and Mail Operation Obtaining Unapproved and Potentially Risky Drugs from Canada,” September 16, 2003